29 Jan 2015

Bringing the outdoors in


Ishai Novak has specified products that make the most of natural light as well as his garden in a new extension of his seven bedroom Hertfordshire home.


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Skylights or rooflights can provide up to 40% more light than a window of comparable size and, perhaps more importantly, a more even distribution of light. This ability to fill a room with natural daylight makes skylights an ideal choice for home projects that would benefit from extra sunlight.

Taking advantage of as much natural light as possible was certainly top of Ishai Novak’s list in terms of design features for the extension of his seven bedroom house nestled in the Hertfordshire countryside.

Ishai was keen for his extension to create a close relationship between the dining space and garden area. He wanted to improve the living space for his family at the same time as having a kitchen and dining area that made the most of his large garden.

To bring the outdoors indoors, he decided to install large concertina glass doors across the entire back wall of the extension. To continue the light and airy feel through into the kitchen area, Ishai wanted to include a large skylight. However, he needed to be careful in his specification, after all, as a basic rule, domestic extensions can only be a maximum of 25% glazed.

Having visited Grand Designs Live for inspiration, Ishai opted for a bespoke SkyView skylight to create a light, spacious and contemporary finish for this large extended living space located at the rear of the property.

Statement centerpiece

If used wisely a skylight can become the focal feature of a room. This certainly is the case with Ishai’s home, called Chestnut Lodge, as the skylight allows light to literally pour into the new space.

A large single pane Sunsquare skylight was installed which has an internal opening of 1200x2500mm. It was essential that there was no visible frame showing internally, which was achieved using decorstop. This allowed the plasterboard to be fitted straight into the frame with no frame on show; a popular choice for those looking for a sleek finish.

Whilst the aesthetic appeal was important, so too was creating a comfortable living space for the whole family to enjoy. One concern the family faced was the possibility of over-heating given the large single pane of glass being used in the skylight alongside the bi-folding glass doors.

Being a south facing property, the amount of visible light entering the new space is exceptionally high. Therefore super neutral solar control glass was specified (SN70). This has a g-value of 37% and a light transmittance of around 70% thereby eliminating overheating altogether.

Thermal benefits

On the other hand, high-specification rooflights not only provide much-needed levels of natural light into homes, but also offer significant thermal benefits. Where overheating is avoided during warmer months, in the winter the specification of SN70 helps to keep the home warm as it reflects the heat back into the room helping to keep down energy bills. As is the case with this skylight, most high performance rooflights are thermally broken, to ensure properties are not only brighter but also warmer and drier.

Most skylights are manufactured from Aluminium, which transmits heat and cold very efficiently. If the external temperature manipulates a skylight frame, it not only creates a window that acts as a huge heat loss area for a property but also opens up the possibility of serious condensation issues.

Justin Seldis, Managing Director of Sunsquare, comments: “For a skylight to be truly thermally broken there should be polymide sections dividing all materials that sit across the internal and external parts of the building. This is the only effective way of ensuring a skylight will offer a high standard of insulation.

“Last year was a major step forward for the skylight manufacturing industry. It is now possible to have a skylight installed that is verified by the British Standards Institution (BSI) under standard BS 6375-1:2009. For clients, where installing products that perform exactly as they are supposed to is crucial, this offers considerable reassurance.”

Low maintenance solution

The attention to detail on this project was exceptional, proven by Ishai’s careful specification – he even specifically requested the external RAL colour on the SkyView frame to be changed to match that the bi-fold doors (RAL 7016).

Even the ability of the glass to resist the effects of rain and daily residue build-up was important to the owners. After all, the skylight is not that easy to access for regular cleaning purposes. To significantly reduce the amount of cleaning required, Sunsquare applied ClearShield to the face of the glass; a product that chemically bonds to the surface of the glass to make it smooth rather than undulated. The non-stick protective layer makes the glass remarkably easy to keep clean, requiring 50% less routine washing.

Family-friendly space

The finished extension really does incorporate the garden as part of the home. The floor to ceiling bi-folding doors extend the length of one and a half walls, where when sitting at the dining table it really does feel as if you are outside. A Scandinavian-inspired interior design palette enhances the natural light that floods through the doors and the skylight. The contemporary kitchen’s on-trend soft grey features work neatly beside stark white walls and floor tiles. The vibrant green sofa and armchair reflect the natural greens in the lawn.

Ishai adds: “I am absolutely delighted with the resulting finish, the sunlight and bi-fold doors add a tremendous amount of light to a space used by all the family.”

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